With his party now holding all of the levers of power in Arkansas politics, a Republican state lawmaker is pushing to remove the names of the state's most well-known Democrats — Bill and Hillary Clinton — from Tiny Rock's airport.
Sen. Jason Rapert says pilots have complained to him about flying into Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and that Arkansas should not honor a former president who was impeached over his affair with a White House intern.
"The bill is to prevent any additional embarrassment by the airport's name," Rapert said Friday. Other women have accused the ex-president and ex-governor of sexual harassment, and they should not have to be reminded when they travel through Arkansas' busiest hub, he mentioned.
"How would you feel if you had to walk via that airport?" Rapert asked.
Bill Clinton has been dogged by rumors about his relationships with females for a great deal of his political profession. He has acknowledged sexual encounters throughout that time, but has denied accusations of mistreatment.
The sprawling airport complex east of downtown Little Rock had been known as Adams Field, choosing up the moniker to honor Arkansas National Guard Capt. George Geyer Adams in 1942. Adams was a longtime Small Rock councilman killed in the line of duty in 1937 and the actual air field is nevertheless named for him.
"Political pals of the Clintons decided to strip his honor," Rapert mentioned.
Bill Clinton, who was acquitted in his 1999 impeachment trial, served as Arkansas governor practically 12 years and president for eight. Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator from New York and a U.S. Secretary of State prior to operating as the Democratic presidential nominee last year.
Though Bill Clinton was president, he signed the bill naming Washington National Airport after former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican.
Rapert's bill says Arkansas should not name any publicly funded airport after any one who received a salary for holding a federal, state, county or municipal workplace. A state wildlife center in Pine Bluff is named immediately after former Gov. Mike Huckabee, but Rapert stated the former Republican presidential candidate must still be honored.
He did not explain the distinction.
Small Rock's Airport Commission voted to rename the complicated in 2012. At a hearing, members of the public acknowledged the Clintons weren't ideal but stated the couple had accomplishments that no other Arkansans had.
"We recognize that the 42nd president of the United States is a singular honor for the city and the state," Mayor Mark Stodola, a Democrat, said Friday.
"I'm disappointed that the legislation was filed," he mentioned, adding that it was "a slap against Tiny Rock" and that its airport commissioners were finest equipped to pick out whom to honor.
When the airport was renamed 5 years ago, Democrats controlled the Legislature and held the governor's office. Republicans completed a takeover of Arkansas state government in 2014.
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